Since the start of The Bias List in January 2016, I’ve always looked back at my three favorite title tracks by K-pop artists each month. Now, it’s time to look even further into the past, one month at a time. And, yes, the top three rankings count toward The Bias List’s personal artist scorecard!
April 2009 Overall Thoughts
While April didn’t offer a Gee or Sorry Sorry level classic, it was a solid month with plenty to enjoy. And though newer fans might not recognize a lot of the names here, many of these artists are still working today – at least in one form or another.
For me, April was dominated by another Sweetune-produced track. I know… shocker, right? But unlike other Sweetune acts, A’ST1 are not a household name. Even so, Dynamite is a total jam and deserves renewed attention.
With their first comeback, 2PM scored an iconic hit. Again & Again feels like a template for their sound going forward, and is still covered by boy groups today. The battle for third place was very, very close, and pretty much shifts depending on my mood. Both Diva and Boo are instant mood-lifters, with the former’s heavy autotune actually contributing to its cheesy appeal.
We also have the solo debut of Beast/Highlight’s Gikwang as “AJ.” The oft-mocked Dancing Shoes isn’t particularly great, but I find it to be a guilty pleasure. Other solo releases from Lee Minho and Lee Junki are emblematic of this era’s sound, while rapper Shin Gun brought a surging dance club energy reminiscent of some of Bigbang’s early work.
Finally, we have songs by the always-popular SG Wannabe, Davichi and Younha, who were all in their prime during this time.
AJ (Gikwang) – Dancing Shoes (video)
Davichi – My Man (video)
IU – Boo (video)
Lee Junki – J Style (video)
Lee Minho – Extreme (video)
SG Wannabe – My Love Cry Baby (video)
Shin Gun – Bye Bye (ft. J) (video)
Younha – 1.2.3 (video)
TOP THREE SONGS
3. After School – Diva
2. 2PM – Again & Again
1. A’ST1 – Dynamite
For me, this was the month of Queen Seondeok OSTs. I am surprised you gave none of them any mention, especially since a few have gotten MVs. Admittedly, it is hard to find those MVs with good audio quality these days. I am going to embed them here as they are on topic. But audio versions and not the lo-fi MVs. My top 3 are all from Seondeok.
5. 2PM – Again and Again
One of the songs that got me into K-Pop, and easily the song here I have the most memories with. I still have the choreography fully memorized.
4. A’ST1 – Dynamite
AST’1 are a legacy of what can go wrong with K-Idols. One of the members passed away young due to cancer, and the group faded away, killed by their agency. Despite the sad story, the song is pure joy.
3. IU – Wind Flower (E.S.)
One of , if not the greatest K-OST ballads, and a healing song if there ever was one. Its unfazed hope is something I keep coming back to, year after year.
2. Hong Gwang Ho – Step by Step
Though it never received an MV, I cannot not mention this song. Painful and uplifting, and overall masterful. Its usage in the drama made it only better. It is hard to not cry thinking of Deokman and Bidam when this song is heard.
1. IU – To The Sea
One of the greatest Korean songs of all time, period. Its experimental structure, valleys, and peaks, all part of a story. The fact that IU would still have to wait more than a year and a half before here break out after this is criminal but understandable. The song does not play close to any structure, and that makes it even better.
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Diva is THE guilty pleasure. Kahi’s rap, Bekah’s rap, the catchy chorus, and Jungah’s high notes, are not perfect but they are fun.
I LOVE Dynamite. I don’t even remember now how it sounds and I’m not at the right time to listen to it now, but I know in my soul that I love it.